Massapequa Park 7/13/2015 2:08:24 PM
Local Author Inspires Fifth Grade Students to Write Their Own Mysteries
If you have been following my blogs, you know that I have had the
pleasure and wonderful experience of working with a fifth grade teacher,
Trish Roberts, in Steward School in Garden City, L.I.,N.Y.
Ms. Roberts has written an article about the adventure in the local town paper, The Garden City News.
have included the article in its entirety for your interest in literacy
initiatives, and the pleasure of hearing about students who love to
Local author inspires fifth grade students to write their own mysteries
BY TRISH ROBERTS
Linda Maria Frank, author of the Annie Tillery Series, greeted students
and parents at a recent author’s night at Stewart School. The
students in Mrs. Dratch and Mrs. Roberts’ class enjoyed meeting her
because they had just finished a literary study of her books. After the
literature unit, each student wrote Ms. Frank a personal letter,
explained what they liked to read and what specific things they enjoyed
about her books. The students were ecstatic when Ms. Frank responded to
each of them with a personal letter. They were even more excited when
they learned that Ms. Frank was going to visit their class and teach
them how to write their own mysteries.
In her Mystery Writer’s
Workshop, Ms. Frank explained, “If you want to be a good writer, you
have to be a good observer, absorber and reader. You have to tell a
good story.” She went on to describe how her inspiration to write
developed from her childhood passion for Nancy Drew books and the
popular television series, CSI. Before starting her writing career, Ms.
Frank was a science teacher; teaching biology, chemistry and forensic
science. She was awarded the Seaford High School Teacher of the Year in
1989. Ms. Maria Frank also received an award from the American
Association of University Women for inspiring young women to pursue the
field of science. Her passion for writing excited and motivated the
Ms. Robert's Fifth Grade Class.
workshop continued with Ms. Frank describing how important it is, when
writing a mystery, to create a problem and solution and develop logical,
recognizable clues. Melina was curious and asked “How do you develop
the red herrings in your stories?” Ms. Frank explained that a mystery
is more interesting when all your clues don’t point to one suspect. She
finished her ‘Art of the Story’ PowerPoint presentation by telling the
students how important it is to focus on the questions: who, what,
where, when and why. She also stressed that it’s very important to
think of the what ifs when writing a mystery.
When Ms. Frank gave
the students their assignment, the real fun began. They were asked to
read the mystery, “The Skeleton in the Old Lighthouse” and to become
true detectives by analyzing the information and identifying the crime
scene, suspects, clues and evidence. The students enthusiastically
started to analyze the text. Eventually they would be able to write
their own mysteries by finishing the story.
Ms. Frank continued
to encourage the students as she ended the workshop. “Write about what
you know, what you are interested in.” she said. The students were
excited to start writing and promised to send her their finished
mysteries. “I really liked the presentation. I didn’t know the parts of a
mystery before, but now I do. I think I can write my own mystery.”
Sophia explained. “She even gave us some opening sentences to use.”
“So then let’s get writing.” said Mrs. Roberts!